Sensory Integration is our ability to take information through our senses, process that information neurologically, and create appropriate output (thoughts and behaviors). Our sensory integration pathways begin to develop before birth and evolve as we age. Our ability to process sensory information affects everything we think about and how we behave in every moment.
Sensory integration is especially important when helping children develop their fine motor, gross motor, language and activity skills and abilities. It's necessary to think about the basic special senses that we all learn about in elementary school (see, hear, smell, touch, and taste)....But guess what?
There are other senses that Occupational Therapists explore with our clients. These include; vestibular, proprioception, nociception and interoception.
Vestibular is all about balance and coordination.
Proprioception is all about where our body is in space at any given time.
Interoception are those internal cues that help us know when we are hungry, thirsty, tired, or hot.
Nociception is how our body lets us know we are feeling pain.
If we are HYPER sensitive or HYPO sensitive to sensory input of any kind, it can make it very difficult to react to any human interaction. We all have unique hypersensitivities and hyposensitivities to sensory input, and that's OK!!! It's about how we process the information in a safe and healthy way.
Sometimes children and adults over-react or under-react to sensory information, because they may not be processing sensory input in a healthy way. Hopefully adults have found coping strategies to process their sensory input in appropriate ways. Occupational therapists can work with children, adults, and their families to facilitate new ways to process information to positively impact the child's health, behaviors, and general interaction with their world.
If you have questions or comments about how you or a loved one processes their sensory input, feel free to comment or email me. We can explore solutions to integrate the sensory input in a positive way.